On Monday morning, Peter Wang and his wife were cleaning a recently vacated basement apartment at their Holbrook home when his wife lifted a couch cushion and was greeted by a snake, Roy Gross, the chief of the Suffolk County SPCA, said Monday.
Mrs. Wang immediately panicked and ran out of the room screaming, shutting the door behind her.
The couple, who live on Pond Path, called the Town of Brookhaven Holtsville Ecology Center, which then called the SPCA.
When SPCA officers arrived, they found a three-foot long ball python in the couch. The python, which is legal to own as a pet, had belonged to the former tenant and was supposed to be cared for by the upstairs tenant before it got loose.
“There were two tenants in the building at least, and when the downstairs tenants vacated, the upstairs tenants said they’d take it,” said Gross. “At some point it escaped from its cage and they couldn’t find it, they probably assumed it got outside and was gone.”
But rather than escaping outside, the snake returned to its original apartment and curled up underneath the cushions of a couch.
According to Chief Gross, ball pythons are a docile breed that can grow up to five feet in length. After the snake was removed by SPCA officers, it was put up for adoption and taken home by a new family.
Mr. and Mrs. Wang have avoided attempts to be contacted by the media, but Chief Gross has one message he’d like the public to hear.
“In this case, the animal in question was legal to own and not venomous, but it could’ve been worse,” he said. “Generally, I’m urging people that illegal animals are dangerous, and there’s a reason that they’re illegal."
"We’ve had to come remove Burmese pythons, anacondas, alligators," he added. "It’s an accident waiting to happen. If you have a pet, any pet, what I’m asking people to do is make sure it’s secured properly. It’s not fair to the animal and certainly not to the public. People should be vigilant regarding any type of animal they’re uncertain of, keep your distance and notify the authorities, don’t try to touch it or get close to it.”
No charges have been filed, Gross said.